Muscat: Art students, artists, and art aficionados will have plenty of opportunities to explore the creative processes behind many types of art this month, thanks to the Muscat Art Festival, one of the new elements of the Muscat Festival.
The Muscat Art Festival will bring together artists — both local and international — art students, and interested members of the public to participate in art projects, attend seminars, and view exhibitions, all under the theme 'The Creative Process'. The diversity of the projects reflects different aspects of art, from the making of art to analytical and theoretical discussions about it.
"Let's forget about the money side — the business side — of art, and let's go back to the fundamentals. Let's build the fundamentals. When it comes to art, the first thing that is key is the creative process, the creation of an art work," said Bertrand Epaud, French art advisor, curator, and one of the organisers of the event.
Epaud, who has years of experience in the Middle East arts scene, from Morocco all the way to Iran, pointed out that one of the things that the art scene in the region needs is more understanding of the fundamentals behind art. While much of the focus is on the market for art, importing the work of famous international artists, and imitating the styles of other artists, Epaud noted the importance of approaching art from a more basic level.
Specialists from around the world will share their knowledge on Islamic art, architecture, and a variety of other topics with Omanis at the festival. A group of renowned Omani artists, joined by two expatriate artists, will spend time painting ibex models in Al Amerat Park, where the public can watch the paintings evolve. There will also be exhibitions of Arabic calligraphy, photography, handmade books, and even the work of surrealist painter Salvador Dali.
Sultan Hamdoon Al Harthy, Chairman of Muscat Municipality, developed the initial idea for the festival, and Malik Al Hinai, Director of Bait Al Baranda, took the concept to the next level. Ever energetic and enthusiastic about such events, in just two months, Al Hinai, with assistance from Epaud, has organised a dozen different events that will take place throughout February.
"The Muscat Art Festival was born, and we thought of ideas for it. How can we make it different from Dubai and Abu Dhabi? How can Muscat embrace the arts? We came up with strategies and themes," Al Hinai explained.
In addition to giving the local art community the chance to explore their own creative processes, the Muscat Art Festival will give the general public more things to do and will hopefully encourage more interest in art, Al Hinai said.
This first Muscat Art Festival will take place as part of the Muscat Festival, but Al Hinai expects this will change in upcoming years, with the art festival being scheduled for a different month and providing more entertainment throughout the year for the people of Oman. It will also feature different themes each year, allowing local artists to explore different aspects of their work.
"It's going to showcase Muscat as a city that embraces culture," Al Hinai concluded.